[REVIEW] Pang – GX4000

Bursting with gameplay
First off, can I say that I adore this game! always have, always will.. This is the Key game of my gx4000 cartridge collection that always brings me back for that ‘just one more play’.
At it’s very core, Pang is a shoot ‘em up-come-platformer; where accuracy, and planning take centre stage. while initial glances can look like this game is a take on Bombjack or Manic Miner with it’s single screen action, you’ll soon find it is so much more.
So the objective – destroy all balloons on a stage before you can progress is a simple one, and just like asteroids, dependent on the 4 sizes of the balloons upon popping will depend on how many times it will split before its gone for good. with around 50+ stages to the game split over various countries you’ll also see a nice change every 3 levels which helps to keep the game fresh.
Oh and did I mention power ups and enemy’s fill each level to boot? No.. Well you might have your hands full then..
Graphics wise the game feels very early 16bit, and that’s amazing pang2given this is an 8bit system, it’s well drawn and very responsive to the controls – again I’m using the official Amstrad joypad as it feels much better control wise when compared to the JY1 joystick.
In many ways it’s a pity more games didn’t come out like this. Using careful pallet swaps to keep the game speed up, and utilising the plus ranges features to excellent effect. Although I suspect there was just very efficient coding at play.
If fact I can say the same with the audio, while no tune is truly memorable, they are catchy, and the effects noises are such that they never overstay their welcome in a session.
pang1And that’s the key thing, a session could be 5 mins, or 50. Pang Just feels just great to play! Partly because it’s a fair game that never cheats you into an early death, with every mistake that kills you feeling like you could have prevented it by watching the screen better or firing off a better placed shot. The controls never let you down, and this is helped by great collision detection and great animation. Before we start including all the random event stuff which appear ingame, either stealing weapons, or aiding you to completion.
And did I mention this isn’t just a single player game… there’s co-op too which adds a whole new dynamic just through co-ordinating strategy and attacks.
Overall a belter of a game and one every retro gamer should try!
Chris Thacker

Author: Chris

Freelance writer, Blogger, Youtuber Chris has dabbled around the industry for many years. having been published in two books, and with over 30+ years knowledge of gaming history, there are many obscure facts tucked away in his brain which have yet to be documented.

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